Daisy Track & X-37
In operation from 1955 to 1985, the Daisy Decelerator (named after the Daisy Air Rifle) was an air-powered sled-track used to study the effects of acceleration, deceleration, and impact on the human body and various equipment systems. The Daisy Decelerator played a significant role in American history by supporting biological and mechanical research and testing for NASA’s Mercury space flights and the Apollo moon landings.
The Daisy Track was originally housed at Holloman Air Force Base and has now been restored by the New Mexico Museum of Space History through a “Save America’s Treasures Grant.” This exhibit displays the Daisy Track, with its Air Gun, a Waterbrake and four of the original sleds, and recreation of the structure that housed the Air Gun. Minor adaptations were made for security and exhibit viewing purposes. The Bopper sled is also featured in this display.
The X-37 Neutral Buoyancy Lab Simulator was used to test the X-37 orbital space vehicle. Once operational, the X-37 can be deployed into Earth-orbit from the space shuttle, or launched into space by an Atlas V rocket. This full-scale mockup is currently on display at the New Mexico Museum of Space History, sharing space inside the Daisy Track Exhibit Building. Inside the mock-up is a satellite model and telescope model, either of which could have been launched or used remotely. The X-37’s primary mission is the deployment and retrieval of satellites in orbit with a rapid turnaround and minimal costs.
The X-37 display is courtesy of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. It is 27 feet long, with a 15-foot wingspan and a gross weight of 4500 pounds. In May of 1999, it was successfully tested at the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The lab is a facility that allows astronauts to train on spacecraft underwater in a near zero gravity environment.